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Nocturne, Rosa Mystica, Simple Symphony (Hickox, Allwood)

Price: £8.59
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Two masterful song cycles from Rolfe-Johnson 16 Feb 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
After the retirement of Peter Pears, the title of best tenor in Britain was tossed between Phillip Langridge and Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, both of whom turned into great singers of Britten's music. Two masterful song cycles written for Pears, the Nocturne and Les Illuminations, are beautifully sung here by Rolfe-Johnson in prime voice. Leaving aside the alluring sweetness of his tone, his diction far outstrips Pears's, which is very important given how careful Britten was about selecting poetry to set.

The Nocturnes performance rises to first choice (Pears's stereo version finds him in clotted voice, the poetry all but unintelligible) and has excellent conducting by Richard Hickox. Jane Glover is more routine leading Les Illuminations, but Rolfe-Johnson carries the peice by his haunted, note-perfect singing. All it lacks is the erotic sinuousness that even in old age Pears could impart.
Britten lives! 16 Oct 2007
By LuelCanyon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The music of Ben Britten always responds to the authentic musicianship of a singer, and Anthony Rolfe-Johnson delivers one of the great versions of Les Illuminations. A tremendous recording of a magnificent score. Rolfe-Johnson sings with majesty and intimacy throughout. An exacting but musical diction never intrudes, and Rolfe-Johnson's natural comprehension of this masterpiece surely comes under the heading of a gifted musical experience for any attentive listener. The London Mozart Players under Jane Glover submit heart and soul to Britten's tableau and let it stand shining in its perfections. This is music making of wisdom and heart, and the singing is exquisite. One can lament missing the almost mystical affirmation with which Peter Pears imbued every note of Britten's music he ever sang, and one does, but Rolfe-Johnson makes this score his own to enrich a great musical legacy.
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